VENN TEAM

Led by Nathan McLellan, our team is a diverse and creative group of people

committed to serving Venn’s vision and its wider community.

NATHAN
MCLELLAN

CEO and Senior Teaching Fellow

Nathan grew up in a family of four boys, where backyard cricket, soccer, rugby—and the occasional broken window—were always on the after-school schedule. After studying economics and finance at university, he joined the New Zealand Treasury and stayed working there as an economist for over six years. Wanderlust—undoubtedly stoked by moving around a lot as a child—plus a desire to deepen his understanding of the gospel and what it meant for his work and the mission of the Church, resulted in a move to Vancouver, Canada to study theology at Regent College.

During his time there, he joined the Marketplace Institute, where he started and led a residential internship and contributed to the development of other programmes and activities, including Reframe – a course designed to help people deeply integrate their Christian faith and life.  His time in Vancouver was followed by further study at Southern Methodist University in Dallas, Texas, where he is currently a Ph.D. candidate in Christian Ethics.
Nathan is married to Bronwyn.  They live in Auckland with their two energetic boys, Jonathan and Caleb, who are slowly losing their American accents!

Andrew grew up in Christchurch and graduated from University of Canterbury with a BA (Hons) in History and American Studies – a course that began a life-long interest in culture and prepared him for marriage to an American! He now works for Venn Foundation as Curriculum Director, teacher and writer, having previously directed the Compass Foundation here in New Zealand.

Andrew is committed to helping people live out their faith creatively and authentically in a complex world.

This commitment led him to move to Vancouver, Canada in 2005 to study toward a Master of Arts in Theology from Regent College; and after graduation to move back to Auckland to work for the Compass Foundation. He teaches regularly on the Biblical Story, theology and culture, and writes on these topics for his blog Imagining Otherwise. He has co-authored two books: The Insect and the Buffalo and The Hare and the Tortoise.

Andrew is married to Rachel Kitchens and they live in Auckland with their two daughters, Ella and Georgia, and son James.

ANDREW
SHAMY

Senior Teaching Fellow

KATRINA
BELCHER

Finance Coordinator

Katrina grew up Nelson and was blessed to be a part of a very close-knit charismatic-Catholic community. At the age of 19 she moved to Auckland to study performing arts. This eventually took her overseas, mainly to Eastern Europe. There she found equal measures of beauty and tragedy in the different societies and cultures she was in, and found herself asking: How does God intend us to live in this world? How are we to form society, government, culture, and our own relationships in a way that responds to and better reflects the Gospel?

Katrina returned to New Zealand with a very different vision for life and for NZ. In 2009 she did an internship, giving her the space and context to develop what she believed and why. Post internship, she worked for CAP (Christians Against Poverty) in events and operations. There she saw the important role that charities and NGO’s play in strengthening and supporting communities around NZ. Katrina married Richard in April 2014 and they live in Auckland.

Rachel is originally from Atlanta in the state of Georgia, USA. She has a B.A. in Dance and Psychology from Hollins College, and a Master of Arts in Christian Studies from Regent College in Vancouver, Canada. For most of her adult life she has been interested in the interplay between the arts, the human body, and Christian faith. Her interests lead her to complete a Master’s Thesis at Regent in a Theology of the Body, based on Pope John Paul II’s works. Rachel is married to Andrew Shamy and they are the parents to Ella, Georgia, and James. Rachel is also a qualified Spiritual Director.

Her career has included work in a wide range of jobs such as church worker, community coordinator, event planner, dance teacher, fund-raiser and florist. Her most active role at the moment is that of home-maker and ‘integrator.’ She enjoys finding places where rest, embodiment, beauty, prayer, hospitality and the calling of the Church collide.

Rachel has come on staff at Venn to help alumni find ways to integrate their lives with the Gospel. She is most excited about ways in which the Church can live out their true calling to be faithful image-bearers and image-shapers.

RACHEL
KITCHENS

Teaching Fellow

MICHELLE
YOUNG

Director of Summer Conference and Supporting Contexts  

Michelle grew up in Paeroa, where the small community of 3000 rubbed shoulders with each other on a daily basis; farmers, the local MP, the elderly, businessmen, and those struggling with life. With her parents pastoring a thriving local church, service and care were instilled from a young age.

Moving to Whangarei, she completed her schooling before heading to Auckland to embark on a degree in Geography, fitting in papers in Psychology, Theology and Maori where possible. The formation of societies, patterns of life, and the shaping of culture all intrigued her.

After graduating she travelled overseas where she explored foreign cultures and joined those working in the global church. Back home she worked in her local church for five years, while completing a graduate diploma in Theology. She then managed a non-profit trust in South Auckland, which strengthened her affection for New Zealand and especially for those on the margins of society.

Michelle joined Venn at its inception in September 2013. The organisation brings together her love for this country, the gospel, and her desire to see New Zealand served well by tomorrow’s leaders.

Julia spent her childhood in the south – Mosgiel and Christchurch – and developed a love for acting and communication, with various off-screen and on-screen roles. After completing a degree in Film and Television Studies, she was selected as one of the founding hosts for TV3’s new afternoon kids show – Sticky TV. Five years later she moved on to create and host In Between and then co-host Volunteer Power. In 2010 she started a network for those working in media – to help them integrate their life, faith and vocation.

Becoming a full-time mum to Eden, Benjamin, and Sophia has slowed Julia’s media involvement down a little! She remains committed to helping others navigate the pressures of the broadcasting world – but is now just as committed to helping families and singles navigate the pressures of learning to live sustainably and well. She enjoys the role of Residential Host as it involves these sorts of conversations every week.

JULIA
BLOORE

Residential Host

SAM
BLOORE

Residential Host and Senior Teaching Fellow

Sam has known (and often returns to visit) small town life, growing up in Dargaville prior to studying medicine and bioethics at Otago University. He worked as a doctor for 5 years in Emergency Medicine and Psychiatry and then began a gradual career change in 2002. Over the next few years he joined the staff of his local church and completed a Master of Arts in Pastoral Theology.

Sam is interested in many aspects of faith and culture – in particular, how individuals establish and enhance a personal spirituality that is stable and sustaining, amidst a society that is increasingly frantic and fragmented. He and his wife Julia oversee the residential life of the internship and are committed to developing the conversations and community practices that provide opportunities for growth and formation. Their three young children, Eden, Benjamin, and Sophia, take up most of their spare time!

John lives in Wellington with his wife, Jannah, and their family. For more than a decade he has pursued a strong sense of calling to serve God in the University. Initially he pursued an academic career, studying English Literature and Theology in New Zealand before completing a PhD at the University of St Andrews, Scotland. That research resulted in a book, Seamus Heaney and the Adequacy of Poetry (Oxford, 2015). On returning to New Zealand, he gradually (and with some lamentation!) accepted God’s call to serve with the Anglican Church as a Chaplain at Victoria University, where he has a particular responsibility for the mission to university staff.

John is passionate about helping others to make room for God, to learn to pray as well as think and work. He’s also a poet, and always curious about the role of language and imagination in our relationship with God. His first collection of poems, Otherwise, was published by Auckland University Press and Carcanet Press in 2015.

JOHN
DENNISON

Wellington Coordinator
VENN BOARD

We are governed by a Board who provide a wealth of experience,
ensuring Venn Foundation grows in strength and capacity.

MARK POWELL

CHAIRMAN

Mark is married to Maria with two adult daughters. Originally from South Wales in the United Kingdom he migrated permanently to New Zealand in late 2002. Mark has Bachelor degrees in both Mining Engineering and Theology, Masters degrees in Logistics and Business, and he is presently working on a Masters degree in Apologetics. Mark has just finished his time as CEO of The Warehouse Group, New Zealand’s largest NZX listed retail group and he is also a qualified Baptist Pastor. He speaks regularly in the areas of business, faith and leadership.

CHARLES BELCHER

DEPUTY CHAIRMAN

Charles is CFO of The Better Bar Company. He previously worked as an investment banker for six years. He brings strengths in finance and strategic thinking to the board, as well as experience gained from four years as a youth pastor. He is an intern alumni and is enthusiastic about the vision and mission of Venn. Charles is married to Emma and they have a daughter.

JOHN ELLIOTT

John is a seasoned international executive with an extensive leadership record across several industries. He combines global experience in a variety of retail businesses with particular strengths and interest in strategy and planning, corporate governance and change leadership. John is married to Debbie and they have two sons.

GREG FLEMING

Greg played a significant role in founding and leading Venn Foundation as CEO through its foundational years, before becoming CEO of the The Parenting Place in 2015. Through the work of Venn, The Parenting Place, and many other organisations, Greg’s life has been dedicated to seeing New Zealanders flourish in their relationships and vocations. Most importantly, Greg & Kirsty have been married for 20 years and have five children aged 5 to 16.

JEANNIE HAY

Jeannie worked as a nurse before leaving to raise her family. Supporting her husband David as Mayor, Jeannie was Mayoress of Mt Roskill for fifteen years, and Deputy Mayoress of Auckland for 12 years. She has been heavily involved in a number of community initiatives over many years, including founding Christian Love Link. She is a mother to four adult children, and grandmother to four.

ROD THOMPSON

Rod was a speaker at the first Compass Summer Conference. Since then he has maintained an active role in shaping the core curriculum both as a speaker and an advisor. Rod was the Principal of Laidlaw College from 2010-2015. He is now leading Springwood Winmalee Presbyterian Church in the Blue Mountains, Sydney. He is married to Rosanne and they have four adult children and five grandchildren.

EMELINE AFEAKI-MAFILE’O

Emeline is devoted to mentorship, education, and advocacy for Pasifika communities living in New Zealand. She founded the mentoring and education organisation Affirming Works and advocates for the Pacific community on social and economic issues within Government. In 2016, she was named a Member of the New Zealand Order of Merit for services to the Pacific community. Emeline is married to Alipate and together they are raising three sons, as well as running Tupu’anga Coffee in the Kingdom of Tonga.

Many thanks to all those who generously support our work.